Sweat pours down my face as I try to focus on the instructions from Kru Daang, my Muay Thai teacher at the Chakrit Muay Thai School. “Elbow, BANG. Knee, BANG. Punch, punch, kick” he yells out. I try to keep up but I feel about as co-ordinated as an elephant on roller skates.
Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is immensely popular all over the country. Featured fights that are broadcast on television are some of the most watched programs in the country. From the big city of Bangkok to the small villages in Isaan, people crowd around small televisions to cheer on their favourite fighter.
With the growing popularity of Muay Thai outside Thailand there is an increasing number of gyms opening up specifically catering to foreigners who are interested in learning about the sport. I decided to visit one such gym to experience for myself the martial art known as the “science of eight limbs”. Unlike Western boxers who only use their hands, Muay Thai fighters use a combination of punches, kicks, elbows and knees in their fights.
The Chacrit Muay Thai School, located a few minutes walk from Phrom Phrong BTS station in downtown Bangkok, has been in operation for just over four years. The owner, Kru Chacrit has been practising Muay Thai since the age of 12 years old and has trained many national and international fighters at his gym.
If you’ve never tried Muay Thai or any other type of martial art, you do not need to be intimidated at all about stepping into the gym because I found the trainers all extremely friendly and helpful. Training in Muay Thai is a fantastic and unique workout that has many health benefits for both men and women. Kicking and punching the pads is not only a great cardio workout but with the Bangkok heat you will be sweating away those extra pounds in no time. It also has the added benefit of being a great stress reliever and tremendous fun!
The Chacrit Muay Thai gym offers a number of different courses from drop-in classes to full year long training programs. For those of you who want to study Muay Thai long term, they can arrange for you to get a Thai Education Visa which allows you to stay in Thailand for one year.
Training in Muay Thai in Thailand is a fantastic experience. Not only will you get a great workout but you will be learning about a martial art that is steeped in Thai history and is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Thailand. If you’re looking for a fun, exciting way to burn off those yummy coconut milk curries or to learn a few self-defense moves then I would highly recommend giving the Muay Thai workout a shot.
Photo: Kulturang Ewan